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WAMAS Tank of the Month


It is an honor to be chosen for TOTM, I look forward to sharing my tank and answering any questions. My goal with this tank was to use mostly common, simple corals along with a few select "tougher" species to create something that is unique and nice to look at. I put an emphasis on keeping the tank clean and the perfect placement of corals.

My tank is a Deep Blue- Shallow 80 (48x24x16) and is set up in my dining room. It sits right beside the table where we eat supper. For this reason, I chose not to use a higher stand that you normally see with the shallow tanks. I enjoy it being on eye level while we are eating at the table. I also have two young kids (ages 6 and 3) and I wanted them to be able to see into the tank without needed a chair etc. The tank has what I would consider two unique features. First, it is a barebottom system, the bottom of the tank is painted white and gives the illusion of a very clean sandbed. I chose to do this because I am pretty obsessive over keeping the tank clean, I can easily blow all the detritus to one side and syphon it out during my weekly water change. I also have struggled with keeping the sand as white as I would like in past tanks. I also believe I can keep nutrients lower with this method. You will notice I have a Melanarus Wrasse and a Yellow Wrasse, both of which sleep in the sand. To overcome this, I have an acrylic wall that holds a corner of deep sand in the back of the tank. They both sleep there each night.

The second unique aspect of the tank are the mangroves, they are attached to a tall rock structure and grow out of the top. In addition to mangroves you will notice I have some air plants growing above the overflow. These are two of my favorite aspects of the tank, they make it unique and give me something else I can grow in this ecosystem. They only get light from my LEDs, and I spray the mangroves every day or two, and the air plants once a week. The mangroves have been growing for about 2 years, and have been featured on several tanks of mine. They grow slowly, but seem to be healthy for the most part.

I use two mp10wes, they are across from each other slightly offset. I use several modes, but primarily run reef crest. The one on the left side of the tank runs at 95% power and the opposite one runs around 75% power.

The tank is lit by two AI Hydras. I have used several other options, all LED, in the past. I have been very pleased with the Hydras, and would likely use AI products if/when an upgrade happens.

For filtration, I am running a 40 breeder sump with a Bubble Magus BM8 skimmer, a BRS dual reactor with GFO and Carbon, and a ball of cheato, to go along with the live rock in the display. I plan on adding some additional live rock to the sump or perhaps some ceramic plate options.

I will occasionally add some 2 part to maintain calcium and alk levels. However, I do weekly 10 gallon water changes and this seems to keep the levels pretty close to where I want them.

The tank is stocked like a true "mixed reef" I enjoy the variety and varying shapes, colors, and textures. I have 6 varieties of gorgonians, 6 anemones, various soft corals and leathers, several SPS including acros, montipora, and stylo, LPS varieties, as well as a couple macro algae. The fish are a basic mix of movement and fish that occupy different areas of the tank etc.

I feed almost exclusively LRS Nano Blend, once a day. I have found I can keep my tank cleaner by feeding frozen every day, than by feeding flakes and pellets, and the fish and corals like it more too. I do rinse the food, very well in fact. I probably rinse off a bunch of the smaller stuff that is added to the food, leaving behind only the rinsed larger chunks of food. I feed with a turkey baster and only squirt in a small amount at a time, this eliminates waste and I can control how much is added. I still use pellets and flakes maybe once a week if I am short on time in the evening.

Challenges for me have been a few types of troublesome algae. One being a green cyano type, the other being bubble algae. I manage both by low nutrients and manual removal. I also change about 10 gallons of water each week, as I feel this helps with algae by lowering nutrients and also gives me a chance to manually remove any algae that starts to pop up. Other challenges have been in balancing nutrients, flow, lighting etc in order to keep the variety of corals that make the mixed reef. Finally, patience… I have a hard time buying a tiny frag and letting it grow in, I usually chose to purchase larger corals that will make a difference in the overall appearance of the tank when added.

Honestly, in the future this tank will likely be upgraded. We are in the process of selling a home and planning to build one, my one requirement for the home is an "in wall" tank. Hopefully 100+ gallons, I will likely keep the majority of the corals and fish that I currently have. It will also be barebottom, painted white like this tank. In the meantime, the plans for this tank are to let things grow, add a few select pieces, and just enjoy it.

In conclusion, I encourage folks to enjoy their tanks. Enjoy what works for you, and don’t worry about what others think. I get some folks not feeling my tank being barebottom and "too clean" or "not natural" looking. I typically think there is nothing natural about a glass box containing fish, corals, and inverts from all over the world. Regardless, enjoy your tank, take time to appreciate that we are keeping a living, working ecosystem in our homes. Forget about the algae, or the closed coral, etc… sit back and watch what you have worked hard to create.


  • 12:30 - 2:00 ramp up
  • 2:00 - 7:00 full power ON
    • Royal Blue and Deep blue at 95%
    • Violet at 85%
    • Whites at 30%
    • Red and Green at 15%
    I tweak these from time to time, and also utilize the cloud cover feature. The clouds sweep from right to left, and is really fun to watch. I do not use the lightning feature (it’s annoying and my fish don't care for it much).
  • 7:00 - 9:45 ramp down
  • 9:45 OFF

  • Salinity: 1.025
  • Temperature: 78°F
  • Alkalinity: 8 dkH
  • Calcium: 420 ppm
  • Magnesium: 1300ish ppm

  • Display: Deep Blue 80 Shallow (48x24x16)
  • Sump: 40 breeder
  • Skimmer: Bubble Magus BM8
  • Lighting: 2 AI Hydra LEDs
  • Return Pump: Speedwave DC
  • Circulation: 2 MP10wes
  • Reactors: BRS Dual Media Reactor with carbon and GFO
  • Heater: 2 100 W heaters

  • Melanarus Wrasse
  • Yellow Wrasse
  • 2 PJ Cardinals
  • Blue and Yellow Midas Blenny
  • Smith’s Blenny
  • Fiji Barbari Clown
  • Pair of Maldives Purple Firefish
  • 1 Lyretail Anthias
  • a tiny hi fin goby living in the overflow with a pistol shrimp. (They moved themselves there, so I added some sand a few small rocks to complete their home!)
My favorite fish changes day to day, if I had to pick it would be between the Midas and the Smiths Blenny. The Smith's is a unique fish you don’t see often, and the white and black contrast is impressive. The Midas just has the personality, and is also very unique colored.

  • True mixed reef: gorgonians, LPS, softies, SPS, anemones etc.
    Favorite would have to be the gorgonians, I have 6 varieties and plan to add more as I can.

  • A few hermits and snails (need to restock the CUC)
  • a fire shrimp
  • a red brittle starfish
  • pistol shrimp in overflow.
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